Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

January 2, 2011


I learned a new word the other day:  Graupel.  Snow was predicted for the lowlands and instead of your garden variety winter snow, it seemed that tiny round snowballs were falling.  I've seen lots of snow in my day, but I never saw this kind before.  Not in Massachusetts.  Not in Maine. Not here. They were like styrofoam beads and accumulated quickly.  Everyone was talking about it and flooding the news websites with questions on what it was.  Because it's still so icy cold and clear, they have stuck around for a few days in the round form in which they fell.


This kind of snow is called Graupel.  From Wikipedia:

Graupel (also called small hailsoft hail, or snow pellets refers to precipitation that forms when supercooled droplets of water condense on a snowflake, forming a 2–5 mm ball of rime; the snowflake acts as a nucleus of condensation in this process. Graupel is the German word for this meteorological phenomenon.

Cool, eh?


  1. Wow. First time I've read about that too. Thanks for sharing. I wish I could see snow this year. But that only happens when I visit Tahoe in Reno, Nevada.

  2. Bloody cold, I'd say!

    This is what the stuff was like that landed on the tiger's face in my zoo post a couple of weeks ago, but I didn't know what it was called, so thanks.

  3. Anonymous2:54 PM

    We get that kind of snow at least once a year. I was told it was because we live near the water. I don't know???

  4. Anonymous2:12 AM

    That looks like the pellets you use to melt the snow!

  5. I saw it once, in Ohio. We argued about whether it was real hail, since it really did look like snowballs. Thanks for the word!

    PS: Your necklace is beautiful, much better than the photo! I will be buying more from you! The photos kinda make the beads look "glassier" than they really are; I was primarily going by the colors. But I am glad they are more "earthy" than glassy. If that makes any sense! Just loved it, great price. I'll be shopping again! :D

  6. Anonymous6:44 AM

    And very attractive it looks too!

  7. Well I never knew that. Can't say I like the sound of it but I'm snowphobic...

    Happy New Weir!

  8. Gosh, had another tiny spattering of graupel today!